MI weekly selection #67
Iron dust helped plankton thrive during last ice age
Plankton gorged on iron dust during the last ice age, causing them to thrive and absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide in the air, according to a study published in the journal Science. Some scientists argue that by seeding areas such as the Southern Ocean in Antarctica with iron could bring about a similar phytoplankton boom that could help ease Earth’s growing carbon dioxide levels.
Seemingly simple sea anemones hide complex genetic makeup
A genetic breakdown of the sea anemone shows that the creature has plants and animal attributes. Researchers found that a complex network of genes is at work within the creature’s simple anatomy.
Computer program creates rough face model from DNA sample
A computer program has been developed that can use a DNA sample to create a crude 3D model of the donor’s face. The work could one day lead to a significant forensic tool that would be used to identify perpetrators from DNA evidence left at crime scenes.
Scientists aim to revolutionize computing with quantum mechanics. Someday.
Physicists and computer scientists continue to boast of potentially game-changing advances in the field of quantum computing, but there is still little consensus on exactly how the technology works or when the first machines will hit the market. Researchers are looking to quantum computers to complete calculations that are too complex for even the most powerful machines by using concepts found in theoretical physics. But while NASA, Google and Lockheed Martin say they are testing models, other researchers say it could be 50 years before a working quantum computer is commercially available.
U.S. Navy aims to tap sun’s energy in orbit for earthly use
The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is developing satellite technology that would convert solar energy in orbit to radio waves that in turn would be transmitted back to Earth for conversion into useful energy. The plan is to provide readily accessible energy for remote military deployments, thus saving money on fuel and making for less complex logistical support.